Because of the governor's stay-at-home order, the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County have restricted rentals at homes, hotels and campgrounds to non-essential persons through June 30.
But 395 traffic data and traffic around town make it clear that many guests are choosing to visit the Eastern Sierra despite the lack of accommodation. And why wouldn't you want to? Its a breathtaking escape and distant by nature.
If you do choose to visit the Eastern Sierra during this time, either as an essential traveler, a day-tripper, or a dispersed camper, it is important that you reduce risk of Covid exposure to yourself and others, follow local norms, and protect the land by following a few simple guidelines::
Check out our tips based on the 7 principles of Leave No Trace:
1. Be considerate of others by respecting the community vibe and ordinances for social distancing and mask wearing.
Times are tough. Work and other essential travel keeps the 395 busy with traffic but when you gotta 'go,' where do you go in the Covid-19 era?
I'll admit that as a mom of 4 boys, I've had to stop the car *many* times to let them do what all boys (that I've raised, anyway) love to do -- pee behind a bush. We've been forced to do this more recently, when we were unable to find a developed bathroom because of Covid closures.
Its also obvious from the bottles filled with urine that line the roadside that some travelers are irresponsibly tossing their plastic-covered waste onto the land. Please be respectful of our Eastern Sierra home. If you pee in a bottle, please dispose of it in a rubbish bin, not on the land. And particularly if you have to do 'big business' in the wild, be responsible and pack it out or handle it responsibly using a (very deep) cat hole.
To solve these issues as much as possible, here's our list of where you can 'go' along the 395. Have an update for me? Please contact me using the chat button at the bottom right of your screen. I'll keep updating this list!
Coso Junction Rest Area
Crestview Rest Area
Division Creek Rest Area
Carl's Jr in Bishop
Bishop park next to Amigo's restaurant
Fort Independence Gas Station & Casino
Pearsonville Shell & Subway
Bathrooms NOT Open
McDonald's in Lone Pine
Subway in Lone Pine
What a wild ride this has been! But you, our guests, have been so kind, so understanding, so patience as we have all muddled our way through the chaos that Covid19 brought to your spring plans and our bookings.
Truth is, we had emergency plans in place. We'd managed avalanches,wildfires, medical emergencies with our guests. We'd helped many with travel troubles and dramatic personal issues. But nothing. Nothing. had prepared us for the sudden upheaval that Covid19 brought to our business, our guests, and our staff.
Hearing you share your disappointment of weddings cancelled, family reunions postponed, long-dreamt-of trips delayed was an important part of our journey through the last months, and we are grateful that you shared your troubles with us.
Despite our usual cancelation policy, we were able to work with guests to find resolutions to most of the booking delimmas. Thank you, guests, for taking time to understand the needs of our home owners who have contractual cancelation policies in place to protect themselves from loss. And for recognizing that this pandemic is devastating to guests and owners alike.
Moving forward, we appreciate that making plans is still difficult when there continues to be so much uncertainty. Mammoth and Mono County are working toward a June 1 open date, but even that is not yet certain.
In the meantime, we will be using flexible policies to assist guests:
Dang. What day is it? For that matter, what month is it?
The struggle is real to come up with ways to describe our current situation because I have a long list of sayings that I would never like to hear -- much less use -- again:
So rather than blather on, I'll just leave this here: despite a frightening early peak of cases, Mammoth and Mono County stayed strong and they have crushed the curve.
Early on, Mammoth Mountain shut down operations and Mono County and Mammoth Lakes activated a Emergency Operations Center. They actively discouraged visitors (and even second home owners) from traveling in. Largely because of the adoption of fairly extreme distancing measures, the EOC had time to manage the local Covid-19 situation and increase healthcare capacity.
As of today, no one is hospitalized for Covid 19 in Mono County. There have been 29 positive Covid-19 tests of 313 tests given.
Mammoth is now working toward a June 1 opening to visitors and we are also hoping to be allowed to host visitors soon.
For the most up-to-date info about the situation in Mammoth, visit the Mono County Covid-19 portal.
Our guests have always rated us exceptionally well for our cleaning. In fact, we have a 5-star rating for cleanliness, and "Sparkling Clean" is one of our most often heard Airbnb review compliments. To read all our reviews, click here.
But based on guidelines from the California Hotel & Lodging Association, Vacation Rental Manager's Association, and Mono County Health Department recommendations, we have instituted the following increased protocols (subject to change as research and recommendations are updated) to benefit both guests and staff.
Have we missed something? Please feel free to send us a message if we've left anything out that you feel is important.
I know. None of us can wait for Eastern Sierra hikes, bikes, trails and local ales (Did someone say Distant Brewing? or was it JLB? or Mammoth Brewing? either way, I'm totally down!).
I've spent my downtime building family memories and improving relationships but also updating our homes and making improvements. We simply cannot wait to welcome you back to our homes. We have also evaluated our cleaning protocol and made important strategic changes to limit risk to our guests and increase Covid-compliant practices.
But I also have a responsibility to my staff and my community to mitigate risk when I can. So in an attempt to 'rent responsibly' we are asking that you self-assess before you book. This is the same assessment we will be using for myself and for each member of my team.
This self-assessment is based on USDA guidance that was implemented with all forest service visitors -- including those in the Eastern Sierra -- before travel was shut down due to Covid.
Please read through the self-assessment and if your answer is YES to any of these questions, please delay your travel.
For an update on the Covid situation in the Eastern Sierra, check out our Covid Portal Page.